Sean Pendergast

Brazoria County Grand Jury Declines to Indict Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson avoided prosecution in Brazoria County on Thursday.
Deshaun Watson avoided prosecution in Brazoria County on Thursday. Photo by Eric Sauseda
Deshaun Watson showed up to work in Berea, Ohio for the first time yesterday. Having passed his physical, he is now officially a Cleveland Brown, in case you couldn't tell by the hideous orange jacket he was wearing into the Browns' facility yesterday morning:
Just moments after this video surfaced, though, came a news report that provided a stark reminder for Browns' fans that you never know what news could pop out of the woodwork with Watson these days, and for Texan fans, it was probably a "not our problem anymore" moment, as reports surfaced about a second grand jury in Texas hearing evidence from their district attorney about a criminal complaint against Watson.

This particular grand jury was in Brazoria County, and the criminal complaint was one of the ten that had already been reported on previously. As it turns out, the Harris County grand jury that made its ruling not to indict Watson only ruled on nine of the ten criminal complaints. This tenth complaint pertains to a massage session that took place in Pearland, and the grand jury in Brazoria county arrived at the same ruling as Harris County's grand jury — Watson will not face charges:

A Brazoria County, Texas, grand jury declined to indict Deshaun Watson on Thursday after considering evidence in a criminal complaint against the Browns quarterback alleging sexual misconduct during a massage therapy session.

"After a careful and thorough review of the facts and evidence documented in the reports prepared by the Brazoria County Sheriff's Office and the Houston Police Department, as well as hearing testimony from witnesses, the Grand Jury for Brazoria County has declined to charge Deshaun Watson with any crimes," Brazoria County District Attorney Tom Selleck said in a statement Thursday. "Accordingly, this matter is now closed."
Watson's attorney Rusty Hardin commented on the ruling in a press release:

We are thrilled that the Brazoria County grand jury cleared Deshaun Watson of the one remaining criminal allegation. We’ve known all along what people who learn the facts also know - Deshaun committed no crimes. In fact, two separate grand juries have now found that there wasn’t even probable cause to believe he committed a crime.

Once the Harris County cases were concluded, we were informed that Brazoria County intended to present their case to a grand jury on Wednesday March 23. We, and the complainant, were offered the opportunity
to provide any information we wanted to the grand jury.

It’s important to note that both we and the Cleveland Browns knew this grand jury presentation was pending and attempted not to discuss it publicly until it was completed. Now that the criminal investigations
and two different grand jury presentations have been completed, I hope the public and the media will take to heart the closing statement from the Brazoria County district attorney’s letter stating: “Accordingly, this matter is closed.”

It is time to let the civil litigation proceed at a normal pace and for Deshaun Watson to take his place as the quarterback of the future for the Browns. I am fully confident that the Cleveland community
will discover that Deshaun Watson is not just a great quarterback but also an incredibly decent person they will be proud to have represent their city.
 This would seemingly close out all of the criminal complaints against Watson, as no others have been reported. Watson still, however, faces 22 civil lawsuits that, as of now, he intended to fight to try to clear his name. The NFL has yet to make a ruling on how much, if any, time Watson will miss this season due to suspension. It's widely believed that Watson will receive some sort of punishment form the league, even taking into account he wasn't charged with any crimes.

Probably most intriguing in the short term, Watson will face a football media throng today for the first time since January 4, 2021, as the plan right now is for the Browns to finally introduce their new quarterback to their community. It will be absolutely fascinating to see how the Browns, Watson, and his legal team choose to handle the inevitable questions about Watson's still-on legal saga.

Indeed, Deshaun Watson is no longer a Houston Texan, but as we learned yesterday, his ties to Houston in this journey are far from severed.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast